Graduates and parents celebrate graduation safely

Pam Dudding
Contributing writer

Much chatter is filling the airways and atmosphere of senior students at Craig County High as their graduation day on May 23 is quickly approaching.

As Craig County students prepare for their final walk across stage to receive their graduation diploma, many are excited about their future as well as the upcoming parties they will be attending. Students decorated their hats to reflect both their dreams and destiny choices.

Many made plans weeks ago for their after-graduation party plans after they take their final walk on stage at the Berglund Center at 10a.m.

“Graduation from high school is a great accomplishment! Not only for the graduate, but for the graduate’s family,” members of the Craig County Prevention Planning Team (CCPT) said. “It is a big step forward and represents not only a tremendous success for the graduate, but also a lot of change for them and their families.”

They added, “It is a time full of questions and stress as well as recognition and celebrations. It is a moment most people will never forget how it closed one chapter and started another for them.”

The CCPT shared ways to help graduates manage this time period and help parents and family members manage the changes everyone may face when their son, daughter, niece, nephew or grandchild graduates.

“Let’s start with any upcoming graduates that might be reading this. First things first, enjoy the fact that you have just completed a major accomplishment as it takes 13 years to graduate,” team members said. “Feel good about what you have done.”

They noted:

•Remember all the good times, the things you’ve learned in the classroom, on the ball field, in the hallways, and at the lunch tables.

•Keep your friendships tight and stay connected with your teachers and administrators.

•As you celebrate your graduation and attend all of the parties and gatherings that are sure to take place, please keep a few things in mind, especially to BE SAFE!

•Don’t drink alcohol (or use any other drugs)

•Don’t get into a car with a driver who has been drinking or drugging or someone you do not know.

•Keep your cell phone nearby in case of an emergency and if you see anything which could be dangerous, please ask someone for help. Remember, a life could depend on it!

“Believe me, the adults in your life care deeply about all of you!” other team members said. “We want to know where life is taking you, about your new adventures and how we can help and support you.”

Also remember, “Craig is a small community. Your good news is our good news. Your challenges are our challenges.”

The team also has ideas for the parents and other family members of what they can do to make graduation season a little less stressful and a lot safer.

“First, it seems so obvious, but talk with your teen, and after talking, listen to your teen,” they suggested. “Plan ahead of time a curfew, where your teen will be, who will be driving and who else will be with them.”

Additional suggestions include:

•Agree with your teen that if she or he calls you in an emergency, you will be there for them right away and will ask questions later

•Make sure they understand your biggest concern is that they are safe, and they are making positive memories

•Discuss the pressures they will face, the decisions you want them to make and how their decisions matter to their futures

•Once your child heads out, relax. Trust your child to make good decisions based on the conversations you’ve had.

This is always a good time for parents and family members to watch a movie or go out for a walk. “Being nervous or stressed is normal, but since you don’t have control, it’s better to try to do something that will allow you to be calm,” CPPT expressed. “If you’re not sure you can stay awake to their curfew, set the alarm 15 minutes before your teen is supposed to be home and let them know you will be waiting up.”

Everyone knows that there is nothing wrong in letting your child know that you care.

“Graduation season is both an end and a beginning,” they added. “Let’s make sure it is full of the good times and experiences it should be for everyone, graduates and their families.”

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